Pay-Per-Click ‘beyond the majors’ (Google, Yahoo! and MSN) has been a common theme on this year’s conference circuit. But are these other PPC networks really worth trying? With rising bid prices on GYM and increasingly innovative offerings by some of the alternative PPC networks, the answer, it would appear, is a resounding ‘Yes.’
One of the key ways that a number of these PPC networks are differentiating themselves is by offering less broad reach ad distribution and focusing instead on the development of more niche, sector specific distribution channels. Welcome to the world of vertical Pay-Per-Click. The premise of vertical PPC is quite simple: ad distribution channels that are optimized across specific verticals will generally deliver lower volume but higher quality traffic.
Take, for example, the travel sector. A tour operator that specializes in trips to Europe may, through a traditional broad reach PPC network, see their ad displayed on a general news site beside an article about Europe. With a travel specific vertical PPC network, that same ad could be seen on a travel review site that focuses specifically on Europe. Both ads are ‘contextually’ relevant however the ad on the travel site is likely to reach a consumer at a more advanced stage in the buying process.
When considering vertical PPC, advertisers should be mindful of a few important points. Firstly, how results are likely to stack up against the time and effort required to set up and manage campaigns. Choosing a network that offers enough reach in a specific vertical is important, as is choosing a network that can provide help and advice with optimization once campaigns are live. Advertisers should remember that not all vertical PPC networks are created equal and that some will be stronger in certain verticals than others.
One company that has had its eye on the vertical PPC market for some time is MIVA Media, the PPC division of MIVA, Inc. MIVA launched its vertical PPC offering – MIVA Precision – in beta at the beginning of this year and followed with a hard launch in the early summer.
MIVA Precision works alongside MIVA Core (the company’s existing, broad reach PPC Network) and is designed to give advertisers increased options when considering PPC campaigns beyond GYM. MIVA Precision has expanded since launch and currently offers distribution across the main online ad spending sectors including travel, automotive, dating, finance, and health.
MIVA Precision, as with other vertical PPC networks, can enable advertisers to reach targeted audiences cost-effectively. Just look at the comparison of bid prices below.
* Data compiled from MIVA (28 May 07), Google (30 May 07), Yahoo! (31 May 07) using tools available on their websites.
Lawrence Herman, Vice President of Sales & Business Development of MIVA Media, North America, spearheads MIVA Precision and has seen the impact that this vertical network has had on advertisers:
“The premise behind MIVA Precision is simple yet powerful – the network has been developed for advertisers looking for high quality traffic that converts for them at the right cost.”
“Service is crucially important at MIVA,” Mr. Herman highlights. “It’s one of the ways we differentiate ourselves. Advertisers need to know that they can harness our expertise in vertical PPC both in terms of campaign set up and ongoing optimization. It is why, on our website, we give you a phone number and not just an email address – so that every single one of our clients can reach us, whether their budget is big or small.”
‘Verticalization’ is nothing new in the offline world. Just look at how other mediums have developed. Cable TV verticalized; what’s your interest – food, sport, history? You can find dedicated channels to each. The same is true for print magazines. This natural shift towards more of a vertical focus has been developing in the PPC world for a while. Just look at media spend according to industry sectors. In the UK, between January and June in 2006, four vertical categories – recruitment, finance, technology and automotive – accounted for 63.2% of total PPC Ad Spend.
With such an accountable and measurable medium, the proof of these vertical PPC networks in the results they deliver. So how is MIVA Precision performing for clients? Ryan D. Turner of TheUseFul said, “On the MIVA Precision Network, our click through figures were over those received from our Google campaign. Overall, we received impressive results with upwards of 200% return on investment.” Lindsay Rinehart of Avenue A|Razorfish said of the vertical network, “The MIVA Precision Network has produced cost efficient leads and targeted traffic at low costs. CPCs are 11% cheaper and conversion rates have been a steady 22% higher than our overall campaign average. These metrics have made MIVA an important partner for our client.”
The PPC market has grown exponentially over recent years. The rise in vertical PPC could well be the catalyst that drives this growth over months and years to come.